US condemns Georgian parliament's passing of foreign influence bill

Protests in Tbilisi as parliament overcomes presidential veto on 'foreign agents' law

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States on Tuesday condemned a move by the parliament in the South Caucasus state of Georgia to override a presidential veto of a bill on foreign agents, which western nations say is Russian-inspired.

Legislators had voted in the latest step in an affair that has plunged the country into crisis and threatens its historically strong ties with Washington, a major aid donor.

"The United States condemns this action," State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller told a briefing.

"It is unfortunate that Georgia's leaders are choosing to forego the steps needed to advance Georgia and the western direction that its people want."

The European Union says the measure would set back the country's ambitions to join the bloc.

Tens of thousands of protesters have regularly gathered in central Tbilisi to demonstrate against the law and the ruling Georgian Dream party.

The legislation would require organizations receiving more than 20% of their funding from overseas to register as "agents of foreign influence".

Washington last week introduced new visa restrictions on Georgia and launched a review of bilateral cooperation between the countries.

(Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk, David Ljunggren and Daphne Psaledakis; Editing by Franklin Paul and David Holmes)